Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Spinning wheels/circles
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Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

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Spinning wheels/circles

Dear Dr,

I have a 21 month old son, who loves to be in a social environment, tries to play with other kids and seems to be tracking slightly slow in his speaking skills.

He clearly indicates a behavior that has started troubling us - he loves to spin wheels or tries to spin circles, he does this for 5-8mins with one toy/car and then moves on to the next toy/car and does the spinning again.

We've hid his cars at home - so there is no spinning at home but when we go for play-dates or to the museum or to nursery school he eagerly searches for the cars and spins them.

A doctor (development pediatrician) indicted that he may be borderline autism - that has me very concerned and every act he does (even minor) like jumping or lack of appetite or flapping makes me worried that he may be autistic

The question I have - should i worry, should I get him tested for autism?

Another doctor mentioned that he just has an OCD - I'm worried and don't know the right channels to approach

Can you advice?



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If you and your developmental pediatrician have concerns about your child's development it is important that you have him assessed. If your son is diagnosed with autism, you will be able to begin identifying appropriate early intervention. If your son is not diagnosed, your concerns about his development will be eased. I recommend to all parents that they seek an in-person assessment by a qualified professional whenever there are developmental concerns. It is so important to intervene early.
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Playing with parts of toys and especially spinning wheels etc is characteristic of being on the autistic spectrum, but obviously there is alot more to a diagnosis than that.  Also many children on the spectrum want and try to be social but don't really know how to do it as they either lack the language or social skills to be successful.  Some autistic children like alot of noise and visual distractions which can appear as if they like to socialise, when it is really the sensory stimulos of the social environment that they enjoy.
If you have concerns, the only way to address that is for your son to be assessed.  If he is on the autistic spectrum the earlier interventions begin the better the prognosis.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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